Lise Davidsen and Leif Ove Andsnes, the two prodigiously gifted Norwegian artists who have risen to the top of the classical music world, have collaborated for the first time on a new album of Edvard Grieg songs now released on Decca Classics.
Recorded in the Norwegian town of Bodø in the Arctic Circle, Davidsen and Andsnes identified closely with this repertoire which is central to Norway’s musical identity. Davidsen says. ‘I am very aware of the conventions of how it “should” be done and by whom. This project was about listening to the music on our own terms, trying to find our Grieg sound.’
Central to the album is Grieg’s only song cycle, Haugtussa with text from Arne Garborg’s 1895 verse novella Haugtussa, written in a native dialect as a statement of nationalism against the Norwegian language which is derived from Danish. Six Songs, is influenced by Norwegian folk melodies and Five Songs in German demonstrates Grieg’s mastery of expression and of Lied.
The duo has been on tour during January 2022, performing repertoire from the album along with songs by Strauss and Wagner. The tour ended with a recital at London’s Barbican Centre with a 4-star review from The Guardian noting Davidsen’s power and potential for a singer still in her early 30’s.
Check out this glorious video clip of the duo performing Ein Svane, opus 25, no 2
The tracks: The Mountain Maid (Haugtussa), Op. 67/ 6 Poems, Op. 25/ 6 Elegiac Poems, Op. 59/ Melodies of the Heart, Op. 5: III. I Love You/ Poems, Op. 60: V. Midsummer Eve/ 12 Melodies, Op. 33: IX. In the Hills/ 5 Poems, Op. 69/ Romances and Songs, Op.18: V. Poesy/ 6 Lieder, Op. 48/
12 Melodies, Op. 33: II. Spring